Spring Football: Veterans Pleased With Gundy

We spoke to seniors-to-be Lawrence Pinson and Charlie Johnson after the Cowboys' first spring football practice Saturday under new head coach Mike Gundy. We asked about their personal situations, but were even more interested in what they thought the differences were between a Gundy practice and the practices they had experienced under former head coach Les Miles.

GP: What's different about a Gundy practice? Did you like this today?
Pinson: I definitely liked it with the rest periods. I've never heard of a water period here but we had one. We went full speed when we were out there. You are out there for a certain amount of plays and expected to go full speed when you are and we did. I think everybody is loving the changes -- short practice, in and out, take care of business, got fresh legs, and ready to go for the next one.
Johnson: It's more up tempo and everything is a bit more positive. They (coaches) are still new and they are trying to get to know us. They come out with a positive attitude and they are trying to get the pace up, get the work done on the practice field and get out. You can really tell that is a big part of our team, up tempo. I like what this new staff brings to us. It's a different perspective. With this two and a half hour practice, we were always doing something and the time just flew by. Next thing I knew we were calling it up and it was the end of practice. It's a big change from the past and being out here a long time and things dragging.

GP: Charlie, is it that much of a change for you moving one spot inside to tackle from tight end?
Johnson: There are little things that are different, but as the whole perspective of it, it really is all the same. It will take four or five practices before I'm really comfortable with it. Right now I'm coming out and just trying to get better. Me being on second unit that hasn't happened to me in a long time. I'm competitive and I'll be busting my hump to get moved up to first team. I expect that to happen by the end of spring.

GP: What about the new defensive scheme. Lawrence, I thought you would be in the middle, but they have you outside.
Pinson: I know. It's different, but I like it. I'm adjusting to the whole defense. It gives us a chance, an opportunity to come out and make plays. I'm expecting to love this 4-3 because for us linebackers it's a clean shot.

GP: What about the new offense?
Johnson: I like it and I think we have the players for this offense. Our offensive line is athletic enough to handle the spread with the spread defenses we're going to see. It will open things up for us and we will be able to control the tempo by going no huddle. I think it will be a good change for this team.

GP: I noticed lots of up-downs, anytime there is a mistake, mentally or physically, it's up-downs. You are going to have those perfected.
Pinson: Definitely when you have a team that isn't hustling and you are only out there for a certain amount of plays you have to give it your all or you have to have some positive reinforcement, that's where those up-downs come in.

GP: Did you hear any comments from any of the guys that are switching positions? You had several with you at linebacker.
Pinson: It's a lot different. To be honest with you I can't wait until we put on full pads and I can see Grant (Jones) take on Shawn Willis full speed with that iso. I've been messing with him, telling him he needs to get his weight up. I've been messing with him but it will be fun and exciting.

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